Trustpilot
 
Personal Law

No-fault evictions to be scrapped in England

Estimated reading time: 3 mins

Alice Sanderson, April 17, 2019

A massive shake up of the rental sector has seen the government announce the scrapping of ‘no-fault evictions’ in England, meaning that private landlords will no longer be able to evict their tenants at short notice or without good reason.

The government called it “the biggest change to the private rental sector for a generation” and outlined plans for consulting on new legislation to scrap Section 21 notices.

Section 21 notices and homelessness

Section 21 notices allow private landlords to evict tenants, with as little as eight weeks’ notice and with no reason, once their fixed-term tenancy period ends.

Although statistics show that there were 10,128 repossessions carried out by county court bailiffs last year, the majority of Section 21 notices don’t appear in official statistics because tenants leave without mounting a legal challenge after receiving their eviction letter.

Housing secretary James Brokenshire said that the end of tenancies due to Section 21 notices is one of the biggest causes of homelessness for families.

Speaking to BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, he said that these changes would mean more stability for renting families and that people wouldn’t be afraid to make a complaint about the property for fear of being thrown out.

Research by Citizens Advice has suggested that tenants who make a formal complaint have a 46% chance of being evicted within 6 months.

Under the new plans, a “concrete, evidenced reason already specified in law” will need to be provided by the landlord for the tenancy to end.

Prime Minister’s comments

Prime Minister Theresa May said that the legislation will mean that tenants are protected from “unethical behaviour” from landlords and give them the “long-term certainty and peace of mind they deserve”.

She added: “Everyone renting in the private sector has the right to feel secure in their home, settled in their community and able to plan for the future with confidence.

“But millions of responsible tenants could still be uprooted by their landlord with little notice, and often little justification.

“This is wrong – and today we’re acting by preventing these unfair evictions. Landlords will still be able to end tenancies where they have legitimate reasons to do so, but they will no longer be able to unexpectedly evict families with only eight weeks’ notice.”

Response

The announcement was met by criticism from Richard Lambert, chief executive of the National Landlords Association (NLA), who said that landlords are forced to use Section 21 notices due to the courts system.

He says their members should be able to use a Section 8 possession notice to evict someone who had broken their tenancy terms, but they have “no confidence” in the courts system to deal with Section 8 applications “quickly and surely” so they turn to Section 21 notices instead.

He said that the focus should instead be on improving the court process and Section 8, because the proposed changes would create a new system of indefinite tenancies by the “back door”.

In response, a spokesman for the Ministry of Housing said that court processes would "also be expedited so landlords are able to swiftly and smoothly regain their property" when justified.

Amina Gichinga, from London Renters Union – which has been campaigning for the end of no-fault evictions – said: "This campaign success is a vital first step to ending profiteering from housing and towards a housing model based on homes for people, not profit.

"The law allows landlords to evict their tenants at a moment's notice, leaving misery and homelessness in its wake. This fear of eviction discourages renters from complaining about disrepair and poor conditions."

This sentiment was echoed by housing charity Shelter, who said that the proposals would “transform lives” and they “represent an outstanding victory for England’s 11 million private renters”.

Further information

If you have a query regarding landlord and tenant disputes, First4Lawyers are here to help. Contact our specialists today for more information.